Notebook: Thunder 102, Bulls 72



Posted Feb 25, 2013 1:44 AM

By Randy Renner, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder used a dominating defensive performance for a change to rout the Chicago Bulls 102-72 Sunday night. Over their four previous games, opponents had averaged 113 points on Oklahoma City (41-15). The Bulls (32-24) had just 54 after three quarters and were shooting just 25 percent. Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 23 points. Kevin Durant had his 14th double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Serge Ibaka picked up his 10th double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulls only had two starters in double figures. Luol Deng and Nate Robinson each had 13 points, and Robinson was just 2-for-14 from the floor including 1-for-8 on 3-pointers. The Bulls offense was sluggish most of the night and ball movement was nonexistent. Chicago had only 14 assists. In three of their last five games, the Bulls have scored 67, 69 and 72 points, respectively.

The Thunder contested most everything the Bulls put up and limited them to just 29.06 percent shooting. That's the lowest opponent field goal percentage in the NBA this season, besting OKC's own 29.11 effort earlier this season against Charlotte. It's also the lowest opponent FG percentage in the Oklahoma City era for the Thunder franchise.

QUOTABLE: "Defensively, holding a team to 29 percent shooting says a lot about the commitment we had on that end of the floor tonight. We wanted to be physical, we wanted to be sure we didn't get outplayed. Our defense was probably the best it's been in four or five weeks."

--Thunder coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: Chicago was 25-for-86 (29.1 percent) overall and 4-for-18 (22.2 percent) on 3s. The Bulls were able to hit just 37.5 percent of their shots in the painted area (15-for-40).

TURNING POINT: The Bulls led by four points very early in the game, but since they shot the ball so poorly they never really had a chance. They did make a little run (9-3) to close the first half and cut a 19-point Oklahoma City lead down to 13. But the Thunder went on a 12-3 run of their own to start the third quarter and begin the blowout.

QUOTABLE II: "We took bad shots and stopped moving the ball. The defense was okay in the first half ,but our offense hurt us. Then we came out in the third quarter and had no energy and no defense. We just have to do our jobs and be mentally tougher. Our level of intensity has to be much higher."

--Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau

HOT: OKC was 14-for-15 on free throws in the first half and finished the game 24-for-27 (88.9 percent). Westbrook was 10-for-17 (58.8 percent).

NOT: The Bulls have struggled all season on offense and they got off to a terrible shooting start tonight (3-for-17, 17.6 percent) through the first eight minutes. They finished the first quarter only slightly better (6-for-30, 20 percent). Taj Gibson was 0-for-8, Joakim Noah was 1-for-7 and Carlos Boozer 1-for-5 in the first half. Durant was 3-for-13. Chicago was just 7-for-23 (30.4 percent) on shots inside the painted area in the first half. Gibson finished 2-for-11, Noah 2-for-9, Robinson 2-for-14. Durant finished 6-for-19.

QUOTABLE III: "I wish I had made more shots, but I tried to do other things to help my team [16 rebounds]. We tried to lock in on the defensive end and I just tried to make the right play."

-- Kevin Durant

INSIDE THE ARENA: The 95th consecutive sell-out crowd inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

GOOD MOVE: Durant, running from the left wing across the top of the circle, looked directly at Thabo Sefolosha standing in the left corner. As the Chicago defense reacts, Durant instead fires a no-look pass to a wide open Westbrook under the basket for a layup.

BAD MOVE: The Thunder has had problems off and on all season with turnovers, and especially during the last four games. That continued tonight with 13 first half turnovers.

NOTABLE: Durant had his double-double by halftime when he had 13 points and 10 rebounds. It's the third time this season Durant has had a double-double by the break. That had happened just once previously during his career.

UP NEXT: For the Bulls, Tuesday vs. Cleveland, Thursday vs. Philadelphia, Saturday vs. Brooklyn. For the Thunder, Wednesday vs. New Orleans, Friday @ Denver, Sunday @ LA Clippers.